After Lisa Storey’s cat snuck out of her house on Feb. 17, Storey put up fliers around town in hopes of the cat being returned.
Unbeknownst to her, however, Sophie the cat had already been euthanized at Orange County Animal Services. Storey did not learn of the cat’s fate until March 3.
“It’s very upsetting,” Sophie’s grieving owner said on Tuesday. “I feel like they didn’t even give her a chance.”
The 12-year-old cat was a tabby-Persian who weighed about 5 ½ pounds and was on medication for thyroid disease.
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Sophie was brought into Animal Services on Feb. 20 with no identification. Officials said that an Orange County resident had found her on the street, and that after two days feeding her, the resident brought the cat to OCAS.
Storey, 51, learned that the neighbor had found her cat, and the next day she went to OCAS to get it back. OCAS workers were unable to locate the cat. Storey’s trips to OCAS on Feb. 21 and 22 with pictures of the cat proved unsuccessful; workers told her that they had not seen her cat.
On the Storey family’s last visit to OCAS, they were informed that the cat had been euthanized long before.
Animal Services spokeswoman Diane Summers said that because the cat was “extremely emaciated” and “lethargic”, it was put to sleep after just one day in OCAS care.
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Although Animal Services’ policy is to keep stray animals for at least three working days, county rules decree that a veterinarian may elect to euthanize an animal to prevent pain and suffering.
“It’s not right for somebody’s cat to be put to sleep for no reason – although in the vet’s eyes there were [reasons],” Storey said.
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